This review is written with thanks to Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and Netgalley for my copy of Truly, Madly, Guilty.
Erika and Clementine met at school, and their friendship goes back years. One day, they are both invited to a barbecue (alongside their husbands, Oliver and Sam, and Clementine's daughters, Holly and Ruby) at the house of their neighbours, Tiffany and Vid. On the night of the barbecue, there is an accident: an accident which has the potential to change their lives, their relationship with each other, and their relationships with their husbands forever.
The narrative of Truly, Madly, Guilty alternates between time frames: the present day and the day of the barbecue, several weeks before. This helps Moriarty to build suspense, as she hints at what has happened through the characters' reflection on their mistakes. The suspense encouraged me to continue reading, although in the build up to the revelation of the accident, the pace was too slow for me, and I became impatient. I also found the alternating time frames confusing places.
Truly, Madly, Guilty focuses on the relationships between the characters; both the relationship between Erika and Clementine, and the dynamics of their marriages - to Oliver and Sam respectively. This helped me to relate to the central characters, as I could recognise aspects of their relationships in my own relationships with others. There are also several "supporting" characters, such as Clementine's children, Erika's neighbour, Harry, and Tiffany's daughter, Dakota. These characters evoke emotion in the reader, and through their circumstances, encourage us to think about a range of issues. This helped me to connect to them. However, in places, I found it difficult to "like" the central characters, and empathise with their situation.
Overall, I appreciated Moriarty's focus on characters and I enjoyed seeing their responses to difficult situations as I read. However, I felt that most of the important issues that Moriarty raises only came to light in the second half of the novel, and this made the resolution of the plot feel slightly rushed.
Truly, Madly, Guilty is published on 28th July, and is available from Amazon.